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1.10: Conclusion

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    Overview

    In a sense, you have been arguing all along in your writing. Up to this point, however, the arguments have not necessarily been couched in Argument terms, though they may have been persuasive. An argument is a claim that contains warrants (assumptions) and is supported by grounds. Some of what you do in this section will be a repetition of what you have already said (this is perfectly fine because repetition – reminding the reader – is also persuasive). We will simply make sure that you identify, articulate, or make explicit some of the warrants, or underlying assumptions, inherent in your claim. We will also make explicit some grounds that may support your claim.

    checklist

    Draft Checklist:

    ___Claim statement

    ___Identifying and listing warrants

    ___Controversial warrant explained

    ___Kind of issue

    ___Examples, Data, Statistics, Case study, Testimony

    ___Analogy

    ___Restated Claim

    Prompts

    checklist

    Prompts from Draft Checklist:

    1. What is the central claim?
    2. What sorts of warrants underlie my claim?
    3. Which of these underlying assumptions needs some clarification in order for the audience to agree?
    4. What kind of issue is my claim?
    5. What are some examples of where [my claim] works (or applies, exists, is true, etc.)?
    6. What is an analogy for my claim? or What is something analogous to my claim?
    7. What is the claim again? 

    Template/Draft

    Template/Draft from Prompts:

    Conclusion

    Teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay. Making the claim that teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay assumes that essays should be taught by qualified teachers. It also assumes that many teachers do not teach this way because they understand the notion of “elements of composition” differently than briefly outlined above, and that this is true because most teachers' training has emphasized the traditional way of looking at composition in these terms.

    This also assumes that teaching elements, arrangement, and essays in the way I am describing is better than the way it is currently done. This statement is based on the difference in the product (the essays) because of this method. These essays tend to have many of the same mistakes and problems, but they also have many of those things that outline-generated, stated thesis-based, five-paragraph academic essays lack: audience awareness, control of conventions (some even used unconventionally), control of subject, flow, balance, a desired effect, unity, and other qualities that some call “literary,” like control of figurative language and control of the elements of particular genres. However, this also includes a positive shift in attitude towards writing, stimulated curiosity, and a realization by student writers that “professional” and literary writers employ exactly the same tactics and methods in their writings. This tends to dispel the notion that there are student writers and then there are “real” writers. Students tend to conclude that those writers, with only the occasional “genius” thrown into the mix, have simply practiced longer at the very ideas that student writers discover from this method. Emphasizing elements of composition over sentences and paragraphs in writing classes is an educational issue.

    Students seem to write better when they understand writing as “composing” rather than “composition.” For example, essay students who consistently use this method in developing essays, make up half of the students who win the yearly freshman writing contests (Winn, 1999). They find they are competing with other people who employ this method. Last year four of the eight winners were students who used this method, and the others were ones who used this method within a typical five-paragraph essay, possibly without even knowing that this is what they were doing (Winn, 1999). More may have won, except that one of the judges objected that the theses in many essays were “implied” rather than “stated.” Much effective writing was ignored because a thesis must apparently be explicit, in spite of the fact that it is not always explicit in professional essays.

    In some cases, students have gotten teaching jobs or professional positions because they have demonstrated to their employer an ability to write professional essays, using this method. For instance, a former student called one researcher to say “thank you” for helping her get her job with a law firm. Her writing was what distinguished her from other candidates (Hebert, 2006). In many cases, students have asked why they were not taught this simple concept much earlier in their writing training. They say their papers would have been much better, easier to write, and much more interesting for readers and writers both (Johnson, 2001). One student in particular who transferred from UCLA said that she learned more about writing in one semester using this method than she had learned in her entire California education (Ling, 2005).

    Elements in writing patterns are like notes in music; they may be “arranged” for different effects or styles, they can be broken down into small parts for practice or study, and they can be designed to emphasize different voices or media. Like a good composition in music, or even art, a subtle and carefully constructed essay – when viewed as rhetorical elements rather than orthographic ones – can change minds and change lives. For these reasons, teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay.

    Tutorial

    How To Answer the Prompts

    Prompt 1

    What is the central claim?

    By now, your claim or proposal should be pretty well thought out. To answer this question in most cases, simply restate or copy your claim from the end of your Introduction section. If you are not sure about how to state a claim (or re-state it), review the "claim" section of the Introduction questions.

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

    Teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay.

    Prompt 2

    What sorts of warrants underlie my claim?

    Have you ever heard anyone say, "Let's assume [something] to be true, just for the sake of argument"? What that person is doing is identifying his warrants. In many written arguments, warrants are implicit (not stated). For your argument, try to make as many warrants as explicit as you can by stating them. A warrant is an underlying assumption we have to make in order to accept a claim as true. In other words, what do I have to assume to be true to believe what you have to say?

    For example, if a person sneers and says to you: "I don't talk to Yankees," what is that person (or that statement) assuming to be true about you? One underlying assumption is that you are a Yankee, whatever that means. Another assumption is that the speaker belongs to a group who does not speak to Yankees. Another assumption is that there must be some reason or reasons not to speak to Yankees. Another assumption is that speakers don't have to talk to strangers who belong to a particular group, like Yankees. And so on.

    I was recently standing outside the door to a "smoke free" building with a group of teachers who smoke (I don't) when a student whom I did not know drew close to my face and loudly stated the following claim: "You have a nasty habit."

    For example, if a person sneers and says to you: "I don't talk to Yankees," what is that person (or that statement) assuming to be true about you? One underlying assumption is that you are a Yankee, whatever that means. Another assumption is that the speaker belongs to a group who does not speak to Yankees. Another assumption is that there must be some reason or reasons not to speak to Yankees. Another assumption is that speakers don't have to talk to strangers who belong to a particular group, like Yankees. And so on. I was recently standing outside the door to a "smoke free" building with a group of teachers who smoke (I don't) when a student whom I did not know drew close to my face and loudly stated the following claim: "You have a nasty habit."

    What are some of the warrants (underlying assumptions) this particular student has for her claim? Here are some possible warrants: She assumes I am a smoker. She assumes smoking and smokers have a "nasty habit.” She also assumes it is acceptable to express her perspective to smokers. She assumes her language and its context are appropriate for the situation. And so on.

    Please note that these warrants are assumptions, and are not stated explicitly in her claim.

    In order to answer the question “What warrants underlie my claim?” there are questions you should answer first, like:

    • What do I have to assume to be true in order to accept [my claim]?
    • On which of these underlying assumptions is the audience most likely to agree with me?
    • What do I have to assume to be true in order to accept [my claim]?
    Step 1 - List warrants

    The first step in the process for revealing the warrants in your claim (or in the claims of others) is to list them. There are warrants in the claim I am making about teaching composition. In order to find these warrants, I look for answers to the question "What do I have to assume to be true in order to accept" [my claim that "teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay?]"

    Make a list of these underlying assumptions or warrants (the answer to the above question) on a separate page (these might not all be included at the end of this process).

    Here are some possible warrants for the claim “Teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay”:

    • essays should be taught
    • teachers teach essays
    • teachers don't teach elements of composition this way, at least for the most part
    • how we teach essays depends to some degree on how we understand "elements of composition"
    • the emphasis currently is on other ways of teaching essays
    • teaching elements, arrangement, and essays in the way I am describing is better than the way it is currently done
    Step 2 - Prioritize your warrants

    List these on a separate piece of paper. Arrange in order of acceptability (I already did this in the above list). In other words, the first few are obvious, and easily accepted by most people. Some "go without saying" because most people will not question them, whereas others are assumptions with which some, or many, people might beg to differ. This is what I mean by "acceptability." For example, the first two in the list are ones that most, if not all, of my audience will accept without question. (That does not mean, however, that the warrants cannot be questioned). The next three are ones that a large part of my audience will probably accept for the sake of argument. The last one, however, is subject to disagreement by a large number of people in my field. That is the one that bears some explanation on my part:

    • teaching elements, arrangement, and essays in the way I am describing is better than the way it is currently done
    Step 3 - Put agreeable warrants into a paragraph

    The second question that you must answer is:

    • On which of these underlying assumptions is the audience most likely to agree with me?

    Decide how to handle warrants in your claim; do you simply mention them? Clarify them? Argue with them? For those that seem to “go without saying” (the ones most of the audience will probably agree with), simply mention them.

    These are the ones from my list the audience most likely agrees with:

    • essays should be taught
      (This one is so widely and easily acceptable I don't want to address it at all.)
    • teachers teach essays
      (Same here; so acceptable I will assume that most of my audience will not question it.)
    • teachers don't teach elements of composition this way, at least for the most part
      (I have alluded to this one before in my essay. I choose to ignore it because it is too easy to prove with statistics and other evidence. You may choose to provide evidence if you feel yours is not too easy to prove. I think most people would agree with this assumption.)
    Example/template – Prompt 2

    Simply state the assumptions that seem obvious (the ones that few people would probably disagree with). There is no need to argue them, just state the ones that are most likely to be agreed with by the audience. Now put these warrants, the ones your audience will most likely agree with, into sentence form:

    Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

    Making the claim that teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay assumes that essays should be taught by qualified teachers. It also assumes that many teachers do not teach this way because they understand the notion of “elements of composition” differently than briefly outlined above, and that this is true because most teachers' training has emphasized the traditional way of looking at composition in these terms.

    Prompt 3

    Which of these underlying assumptions needs some clarification in order for the audience to agree?

    These are the warrants from the list above that might need some clarification:

    • how we teach essays depends to some degree on how we understand “elements of composition”
       (I think I have explained how I understand “elements of composition” well enough that the reader at least grasps the concept enough to listen to the rest of my argument without further explanation. If I had not done so, I would do it now.)
    • the emphasis currently is on other ways of teaching essays
      (Again, a reader might take issue with this underlying assumption about the current state of affairs in writing instruction, but to take up space here arguing this point, like the last three, seems to be a topic for some other essay. In my estimation, it is an acceptable warrant for my claim. I might address it by saying “this is beyond the scope of this essay.” Otherwise, it might need some clarification.)

    The last warrant or underlying assumption in my list probably should be addressed or clarified:

    • teaching elements, arrangement, and essays in the way I am describing is better than the way it is currently done 
      (This is one I am going to have to address (see example below) because I suspect that more people might argue that the current way is better. Regardless, this is the group I am targeting anyway. So I will offer some explanation for resting my claim on this assumption, among others.)

    Example \(\PageIndex{3}\): Prompt 3

    This also assumes that teaching elements, arrangement, and essays in the way I am describing is better than the way it is currently done. This statement is based on the difference in the product (the essays) because of this method. These essays tend to have many of the same mistakes and problems, but they also have many of those things that outline-generated, stated thesis-based, five-paragraph academic essays lack: audience awareness, control of conventions (some even used unconventionally), control of subject, flow, balance, a desired effect, unity, and other qualities that some call “literary,” like control of figurative language and control of the elements of particular genres. However, this also includes a positive shift in attitude towards writing, stimulated curiosity, and a realization by student writers that “professional” and literary writers employ exactly the same tactics and methods in their writings. This tends to dispel the notion that there are student writers and then there are “real” writers. Students tend to conclude that those writers, with only the occasional “genius” thrown into the mix, have simply practiced longer at the very ideas that student writers discover from this method.

    Prompt 4

    What kind of issue is my claim?

    Identify type of issue

    One day when I was 14 years old, I asked my dad for the car keys. He refused. I told him he did not trust me. “It is not an issue of trust,” he said. I told him I knew how to drive safely. “It is not a safety issue,” he said. I offered to pay for gas. “It is not an economic issue,” he said. I told him I needed more practice to learn driving skills. “It is not an educational issue,” he said. Finally, I asked him what kind of an issue we were dealing with. “This is a legal issue; you are not legally old enough to drive,” he said.

    Kinds of Issues:

    If you have a policy claim, identify what category your issue falls into (or what category you WANT it to fit into). In other words, ask yourself, “What kind of issue is it?” Luckily, the number of categories is somewhat limited much of the time to one of the following

    • Moral
    • Legal
    • Economic
    • Ethical
    • Efficiency
    • Educational
    • Scientific
    • Safety
    • Social
    • Religious
    • Health
    • Rights
    • Privacy

    And so on.

    My claim (“Teachers should teach essays by putting more emphasis on elements of composition and how to arrange those elements in an essay”) can be categorized as “an educational issue.” This is important to point out because declaring the type of issue frees me from arguing the claim as other kinds of issues, like as a moral or legal issue. It also limits my critics from arguing outside this category. If they do so, they risk their entire argument unless they address the issue within the category of “education.”

    Example \(\PageIndex{4}\): prompt 4

    Emphasizing elements of composition over sentences and paragraphs in writing classes is an educational issue.

    Prompt 5

    What are some examples of where [my claim] works (or applies, exists, is true, etc.)?

    A generalization is a type of ground that offers proof inductively. In other words, this is where you use examples to support your claim. The idea is that, if you can present some examples where your claim is true, your claim will be true if you could present all the examples that existed. The reader has to be able to generalize that something is true from the few examples you give. As a rule of thumb, you need at least three examples. A good way to start a generalization sentence or series of sentences is with the following key words: “for example,” “for instance,” “in this case,” “in most cases.”

    Look at your claim and restate it if necessary in order to answer the question, “What are some examples?” Since it is an “educational” issue, look for examples from educational sources, like articles written by or for teachers.

    Examples take many forms, but you should use examples from sources that pertain to your claim. There are different types of examples to choose from:

    • Data (scientific or mathematical measurements of observations)
    • Testimony (what experts have written about the subject)
    • Statistics
    • Case studies
    • Reports

    And so on.

    Example \(\PageIndex{5}\):

    Students seem to write better when they understand writing as “composing” rather than “composition.” For example, essay students who consistently use this method in developing essays, make up half of the students who win the yearly freshman writing contests (Winn, 1999). They find they are competing with other people who employ this method. Last year four of the eight winners were students who used this method, and the others were ones who used this method within a typical five-paragraph essay, possibly without even knowing that this is what they were doing (Winn, 1999). More may have won, except that one of the judges objected that the theses in many essays were “implied” rather than “stated.” Much effective writing was ignored because a thesis must apparently be explicit, in spite of the fact that it is not always explicit in professional essays.

    In some cases, students have gotten teaching jobs or professional positions because they have demonstrated to their employer an ability to write professional essays, using this method. For instance, a former student called one researcher to say “thank you” for helping her get her job with a law firm. Her writing was what distinguished her from other candidates (Hebert, 2006). In many cases, students have asked why they were not taught this simple concept much earlier in their writing training. They say their papers would have been much better, easier to write, and much more interesting for readers and writers both (Johnson, 2001). One student in particular who transferred from UCLA said that she learned more about writing in one semester using this method than she had learned in her entire California education (Ling, 2005).

    Prompt 6

    What is an analogy for my claim? or What is something analogous to my claim?

    Overview

    An analogy is a simile that is extended as far as you can extend it. A simile is when you say that one thing “is like” something else. In other words, it compares an idea or situation, which is new or unfamiliar to the reader, to something concrete or familiar to that reader.

    It helps the reader see the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar. Using analogy at the end of a project is like holding up the Mona Lisa in the middle of a lecture on painting portraits; it illustrates the way you see your subject or idea in an efficient and graphic way, it simplifies complex ideas by showing us something familiar, and it helps us remember an image by associating it with something else that we can remember. (The previous sentence is a short, simple example of an analogy).

    Step 1 - Constructing a simile for your analogy

    A simile emphasizes how your idea and a concrete object familiar to the reader are alike or similar. Here is a way to construct a simile:

    [your idea or subject] is like [something familiar to reader].

    A rhetorical mode is like a clothes hangar.

    Note

    Even though I write “A rhetorical mode,” I am thinking of the characteristics I associate with modes and with a hangar that are similar.

    Create a simile comparing your object/place to something similar and familiar to the reader. Remember that the way you see your object/place is probably conceptual in nature, so make the comparison to something concrete. Use this formula to get started:

    [my subject (the way I see it)] is like [something concrete and familiar to many readers, and is similar in some way to the way I see my subject].

    In other words,

    ___________ is like _____________.

    Grammar is Important!

    When filling in these blanks, try to fill each with similar grammatical constructions. For example, in the simile “life is like a highway,” the first part (life) is a noun and the thing compared (a highway) is also a noun. Notice too that “life” is conceptual in nature, as well as the thing we are trying to describe. It is also the unfamiliar side of the equation. On the other side of the equation, “a highway” is both concrete (no pun intended) and familiar. So we are trying to understand “life” (unfamiliar concept) in terms of “a highway” (familiar and tangible), and both are nouns.

    However, if we begin the left side of the equation with something like a gerund phrase (an “- ing” construction) we should also use a gerund phrase in the right side of the equation. For example, if I take the above simile “life is like a highway” and begin it “living life,” followed by “is like,” then I should finish it with a similar construction, like “driving down a highway.” Instead of comparing two things (“life” and “highway”), we are now comparing two processes (“living” and “driving”). Whichever the case, keep both sides of the equation the same construction.

    Here are these two ways illustrated:

    Example \(\PageIndex{6}\):

    Noun to noun comparison:

    A rhetorical mode is like a clothes hangar.

    OR

    Gerund to gerund comparison:

    Using a rhetorical mode is like draping clothes on a hangar

    Notice that I am trying to make my reader understand my idea in the same way I understand it, by analogy. He or she does not think of a linguistic concept as a common object like a hangar, or using it in the same way we use a hangar; I have to compare it to one to make him or her understand this.

    Most Common Question: “What is the difference between a comparison and a simile?”

    In a comparison, the reader generally understands how the two objects are connected without any additional explanation from the writer:

    A typewriter is like a computer.

    This is a comparison for two reasons: the two objects and the characteristics they share are familiar to most readers, and the objects are not different enough to need explaining (they are both tangible and have some similar characteristics). In a simile, the two sides of the simile/analogy are as different as possible but still connected:

    A typewriter is like a rookie first-baseman’s glove.

    A “typewriter” and a “rookie first-baseman’s glove” should be different enough that you are asking yourself, “What? How in the world is a typewriter like a rookie first-baseman’s glove?” However, if you can answer that question (How are these two things alike?) with at least 3 characteristics that the compared objects share, then you are on your way to an analogy:

    A typewriter is like a rookie first baseman’s glove; it causes my hands to hurt, it makes many mistakes, and no one wants to use it.

    Step 2 - From simile to analogy – Stretch the analogy

    How is _______like________?”

    Find more specific similarities between the characteristics of your idea (or the way you THINK of your idea) and the thing you are comparing. You do this by asking “How?” after your simile, and then answering that question as thoroughly as possible. For the simile “life is like a highway,” I simply ask “How [is life like a highway]?” I find similarities by answering that question, using a formula like this:

    [How is life like a highway]?

    They both ____________________.

    They both ____________________.

    They both ____________________.

    Example \(\PageIndex{7}\):

    [How is life like a highway]?

    They both have detours, obstacles, turns, and accidents.

    They both take me to places I did not expect.

    They both leave me feeling run over at times.

    Please note that I answer the question “How?” at least three times.

    Example \(\PageIndex{8}\):

    [How is a rhetorical mode like a clothes hangar?]

    It can hold an infinite variety of styles.

    It holds a recognizable shape.

    It keeps things smooth and easy to see.

    Note that the word “it” refers to “rhetorical mode” AND “hangar” at the same time. In other words, “it” is ambiguous. This is the way your “how?” answers should be constructed.

    Now put all these elements together and you have the skeleton of an analogy:

    Example \(\PageIndex{9}\):

    A rhetorical mode is like a clothes hangar; it can hold an infinite variety of styles, it holds a recognizable shape, and it keeps things smooth and easy to see.

    Notice that I put them into one sentence with a semicolon before the list of answers to the question “How?”

    Example \(\PageIndex{10}\):

    Here is my “Mona Lisa analogy”:

    Using analogy in the middle of an essay is like holding up the Mona Lisa in the middle of a lecture on painting portraits; it illustrates the way you see your object/place in an efficient and graphic way, it simplifies complex ideas by showing us something familiar, and it helps us remember an image by associating it with something else that we can remember.

    Step 3 - Elaborate

    I can now elaborate on each one of these (see full example below). Put into a prose paragraph or paragraphs, elaborating on each one with at least one sentence per answer to the “How?” question.

    Step 4 - Conclude with a statement that refers to or reflects the simile

    I end my analogy with a sentence that connects to the original simile at the beginning of the analogy.

    Example \(\PageIndex{11}\): Prompt 6 (analogy)

    A rhetorical mode is like a clothes hangar; it can hold an infinite variety of styles, it supports a recognizable shape, and it keeps things smooth and easy to see. A mode like narrative, for example, is infinite in the variety of literary styles, plot lines, characters, and so on, it can hold or accommodate. People know when they are “in” narrative – that is, they recognize it – without being told that’s what it is. Modes are recognizable shapes and familiar frameworks upon which writers hang novel items infinitely. Recognizing what mode is behind a text smoothes the reader’s acquisition of the meaning of the text. A mode gives the writer and the reader a framework upon which to hang meaning.

    Prompt 7

    What is the claim again?

    Use a transition phrase (other than “in conclusion”) and copy your claim statement one last time:

    For these reasons, teachers should …

    Based on this study, teachers should …

    With all this in mind, teachers should …

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